Meet Jewish Person of the Week Ashley Gordon
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, MI
What did you do Jewish growing up?
As a kid, we went to shul frequently, and I also attended Hebrew School and had my bat mitzvah. Overall, my fondest memories are weekly Shabbat dinners with my family. My mom always made a delicious chicken dish, and we all got to spend time unwinding, relaxing, and laughing around the table together. I also have great memories of prepping the house for Passover and lighting Channukah candles.
What do you do Jewish now?
I love being involved in the Jewish community wherever I’m living. I just moved recently from Madison, WI to Chicago. While I was in Madison, I ran the most active Jewish young professionals group in the area. I was also a member at the conservative shul in town, and pre-COVID I was often in the kitchen helping prepare kiddush or event meals. Now, as a Chicago resident, I help run Shabbat clusters for ChiTribe. I’m also enjoying simply being an attendee at various Jewish events for a change!
What Jewish organizations are you involved with?
ChiTribe, Base Hillel, and JUF!
Where did you go to school?
I got my undergrad at Oakland University in Rochester, MI (Go Grizzlies!) and my master’s from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What do you for work?
I’m a technical writer for a healthcare software start-up located in San Francisco, CA. My work is totally remote, which is how I was able to move to Chicago.
How has that work changed for you during COVID?
Switching from working and collaborating with developers and product managers in person at my last job to working remotely, and now being entirely virtual for the long-haul at my newest employer, has definitely been a shift. I’ve had to work hard to set boundaries so I can keep a healthy work-life balance. When it comes to how the pandemic has affected the actual work I do, there have been multiple moments of crunch-time directly related to COVID because I work in the healthcare space. We’re often getting out new features in a short period of time to support things such as tracking COVID cases and supporting vaccine distribution programs. When that happens, quick, accurate documentation is critical to helping organizations know how to implement these features. It’s lots of fun to work on those projects, but definitely stressful, as well.
What do you do for fun/to relax?
Since the pandemic started I’ve begun crocheting quite a lot. Last year, I made hats and scarves for family and friends for Channukah. It’s fun to try new patterns and find beautiful yarns to work with. In non-pandemic times, I love to swing dance (Lindy Hop and Balboa) and I enjoy bar trivia with friends. When the weather is nice, I like going hiking on the weekends.
In non-pandemic times, what is your favorite Jewish Chicago event?
I’ve only ever lived in Chicago during the pandemic! I can say that ChiTribe virtual Shabbat Clusters have been tons of fun, and I’m excited to be able to do them in person someday. I’ve also just started JUF LEADS, which I’ve heard a lot of good things about.
Tell us about Jewish Life in Madison?!
The Jewish community in Madison, especially the young professional Jewish community, is small but dedicated. My closest Jewish friendships actually started in Madison. Pre-pandemic, I often had friends over for Shabbat dinner or was invited to one. I was at shul helping out in the kitchen maybe once a month. And I went to services from time to time and really enjoyed being part of the Jewish community there. I’m most proud of the Jewish young professional community that I helped build up during my last two years in Madison. We put in a lot of effort to create recurring events and new, unique social opportunities to help keep people interested throughout the year. I got to know so many awesome people and enjoyed creating a community for them so they could have the same warm experience I had when I first arrived in Madison 6 years ago.
How do you stay motivated during the Pandemic?
Shabbat clusters have really given me something to look forward to each week. I also just started fostering a dog through One Tail at a Time! He came with the name Paul Hollywood, which of course resulted in me now being totally obsessed with the Great British Baking Show.
Favorite takeout spot during the Pandemic?
I’m really loving the salads at Savanna Restaurant and the food at Pasta Bowl, both on Lincoln Ave. But since I’m new to Chicago, I’m just enjoying exploring new places each week!
Best virtual resource for people working from home?
Online social events to help keep you as sane as possible and force you to leave work at a reasonable time! Check out the ChiTribe calendar to see all sorts of stuff all over the city. Even more simply, stalk the events your friends are interested in on Facebook – you can find some cool opportunities!
When the Tribe Gathers…Wonderful things happen!
Find all the Jewish Chicago Events on the ChiTribe Calendar